Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Rights and Duties in Social Life

Human nature has two aspects, personal and social. Every individual has a desire, a need or a want to do or have something. He wants to satisfy his bodily needs for food, clothing and shelter, his instinctive needs for family and friendship, his social requirement of love and belongingness and company of fellow human beings, his cultural, intellectual and numerous other needs and purposes, ideals and motivations. He makes efforts to satisfy or realize them. This basically forms his personality – the personal or individual aspect of his life. If he were alone in the world, the satisfaction of his needs and desires or the realization of his aims and purpose would be determined by the powers and capacities of his body and mind. But nobody can live alone. Everybody has to live in the company or society of other human beings. Now, in society, when an individual wants to do something it must be directly or indirectly, implicitly or explicitly accepted by others. Basically the origin of the right is the claim or power of a person to do or have something recognized by others.
Thus, right is a socially recognized claim, generated from the very nature of human personality and society. But the question is, “Why should an individual claim a right and why should others recognize it?” Every action arouses a reaction and leads to a social relation. Right raises claim to action on one side and recognition of the claim on the other. Other men recognize only those claims which promote common good, that is, the good life for all. Society recognizes those desires or claims for action which firstly does not injure the equal claims of others, and secondly, endorses its common good. It means, firstly that the individual must be conscious of his own good and develop his power to realize it and secondly he must be conscious of the good of others and help them in realizing their desires and powers. Only those desires and claims of an individual are right which promote the same and equal desires and claims of others. This is the common end of social life, the common good or welfare and happiness of all. This is basically the essential nature of rights, which consists of three things; the needs of human personality, the social recognition and the common good or the moral nature of social life. The recognition of a right may be given by the conscience of men, by the social opinion of a people or by the state. Each agency of recognition gives us different kinds of rights. Human conscience recognized moral rights, social opinion, social rights and the recognition by the state gives us legal rights. Furthermore, right is only one end of a social relation, the other end being duty. A right is a claim of a citizen on others to do or have something, while duty is the others claim on the citizen to the same freedom of action or enjoyment. Thus every right implies a corresponding duty. A good social relation means a reciprocal right and duty. Where a social relation gives rights to one person or class of persons without imposing duties on them, it creates a relationship of masters and slaves.
Rights and duties are correlative. This correlation is mainly because of the functions. A right is claimed to do or enjoy something, which is a socially useful or necessary function. Every right has a function attached to it. Mere enjoyment of a right without the performance of the function that is requires is a hollow claim and an anti-social behavior. After having enjoyed a right, a person has the duty to perform its function also. For instance, every citizen has a right to education. But when he has acquired education or training, he must be ready to contribute his share to the social good for which he has educated or trained himself. This is his duty. State or society has given citizen rights so that he may contribute his share or fulfill his duty towards the common good. Otherwise, he has no right to enjoy his rights.
The societies, wherein the citizens have clear understanding about their rights and duties, are destined to prosper. There is better social setup there and more cooperation and brotherhood prevail. However, the societies that have citizens who are not sure about their due rights and duties face real difficulties in attaining social order and unity.
Afghanistan is also one of the same types of countries. Afghan citizens are not aware about their true rights and they are mostly insensitive or careless about their duties. Some of the educated youth, now, have some familiarity about these concepts but many among them emphasize more on their rights than their duties. They keep on shouting about their rights, but mostly neglect the same for others if they are in a position where they are responsible for some duties. It is the need of time that Afghan citizens must understand and perform their duties as the circumstances in the country demand so, and then they should have emphasize on their rights.